Grateful Dead Photography

The Grateful Dead

Like many bands that formed in the Haight-Ashbury district in San Francisco, the Jerry Garcia-led Grateful Dead’s initial goals were to make eclectic music instilled with messages of peace and love. But more than five decades later, they are credited with launching the entire “jam band” scene and being one of the biggest concert attractions of all time.

Though never a commercial success, the Dead built a grassroots following throughout the psychedelic movement by unconventionally combining rock, country, bluegrass, blues, folk and improvisational jazz. Some of their signature songs include “Sugar Magnolia,” “Friend of the Devil” and “Truckin’,” though the group always kept their diehard fans—“Deadheads”—guessing with an ever-changing set list.

In 1987, the Dead finally reached the mainstream with the fluke hit “Touch of Grey.” The group formally disbanded with the passing of Garcia in 1995, but twenty years later, the “core four”—comprised of Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Bill Kreutzmann Jr. and Mickey Hart—reunited to “Fare Thee Well” at Chicago’s Solider Field (also the site of their late leader’s last performance).

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